- Q: What percentage of the world’s population does the U.S. have?
- Q: What percentage of the world’s wealth does the U.S. have?
Relevance: 0% – who cares how much wealth is in the U.S.? And how does that relate to whether the objective of achieving a regime change in Iraq is correct?
- Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
A: Saudi Arabia
- Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
Relevance: None. If we wanted the oil, it would be much easier to lift the sanctions and get the oil. Saddam has expressed many times that he would trade access to oil for an end to the sanctions. And, surprise, given the amount we spend on defense, this would be “Free,” in that it would cost us no money to lift the sanctions. The whole idea that the U.S. is doing this for oil is so ludicrous that it has even been dropped by the Democrats in Congress – even though they still can’t figure out that “unilateral” doesn’t mean “opposed by France and Germany.”
- Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
A: $900+ billion
- Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?
Relevance: None – who cares? And if you’re silly enough to believe that we need to start a war to justify military expenditures, note that the greatest amount of “Cold War” military spending, which as a % of GDP was higher than today’s (although our worldwide % was smaller), was in peacetime.
- Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials
of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?
A: 10% (that’s about$40 billion, the amount of funding initially
requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).
Relevance: None. Firstly, even purporting to make a figure like that is ludicrous, given the vagaries that go into such a concept. Secondly, the U.S. government can spend the taxpayers money on any Constitutional purpose it sees fit – and, surprise here, national defense is one of the few responsibilities that everyone, even Libertarians, agrees falls on the national government.
- Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
A: 86 million
Relevance: None – Who cares? What does this have to do with the legitimacy of a military action to effect a regime change in Iraq?
- Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
A: Since the early 1980’s.
Relevance: None. Is there some sort of statute of limitations on possession of chemical and biological weapons of which the rest of us are unaware? If there is a serial killer out there who has gotten away with it for 20 years, should that stop us from going after and stopping him? No.
- Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?
A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government,
along with Britain and private corporations.
Relevance: None. U.S. private companies make guns, drugs, and all sorts of things – as do French, German, Russian and other corporations. Who cares how he got them? The fact of the matter is that he is dangerous, unstable, and if he doesn’t give them up, as he agreed to do in the treaty to end the Gulf War, we will go in there and take them away.
- Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare
Relevance: None. Did the fact that the previous administrations had tolerated slavery prevent Lincoln from acting against the Confederacy when it seceded? Besides, on a grander scale, does making one mistake or taking a wrong position in the past prevent you from taking the correct position going forward? Of course not.
- Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish
town of Halabja in 1988?
Relevance: 0% – Once again, this has nothing to do with the question at hand.
- Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?
Relevance: See answer for #11.
- Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
Relevance: None – firstly, that was a defoliating agent; secondly, that has absolutely no relevance to the question of regime change in Iraq. <p<
- Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?
Relevance: Ah, finally something related to the point – where are we now – oh, point 15… Anyway, the word “proven” (note – should be “proved”) is key. Czech intelligence maintains that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with members of the group that perpetrated the Sept. 11 attacks in Prague. That should be fairly reliable. Secondly, the statement you made was “links between Iraq and the September 11 terrorist attack.” However, the links put forth by Colin Powell in his speech have to do with terrorist organizations in general, which we can surely fight irrespective of any direct link to September 11.
- Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf
Relevance: This is relevant. However, from where did this estimation spring? Is it accurate? And who would inflict the casualties, us or Saddam on his own people? If the latter, this is tragic, but it does not affect the legitimacy of our aims or the means of achieving them.
- Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the
western forces during the Gulf War ?
Relevance: None. Not to mention that it is wholly innaccurate.
- Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U.S.
tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?
Relevance: None. Also, I’ve never heard this before, which, although it doesn’t mean it’s not true, makes me wonder why it didn’t come out a long time ago. However, it’s not relevant.
- Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait
after the Gulf War?
A: 40 tons
Relevance: None. I’m tired of pointing out that these things have no relevance to the current situation.
- Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in
Iraq between 1991 and 1994?
Relevance: None. Besides the fact that you have absolutely no causation evidence, this is irrelevant anyway.
- Q: How much of Iraq’s military capacity did America claim it had
destroyed in 1991?
Relevance: So what?
- Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for
anything other than deterrence and self defense?
Relevance: Ah, finally another relevant point. However, it doesn’t apply to the treaty violations, or to the logic of Saddam’s position. Whom does he neet to deter? The weapons obviously aren’t enough to deter us, right? And which of his neighbors is territorially agressive toward Iraq? Saddam is the only one who has started external wars in that immediate area since he came to power, and the only one who has started any wars since WW2 that weren’t aimed at the Israelis. Finally, for a little historical simile, was there any “proof” Hitler planned to use any of the military that he built up in contravention of the Versaille treaty? No.
- Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10
Relvance: Irrelevant. While it might at first seem relevant, return again to the analysis for point #11.
- Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event
of an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?
Relevance: Some – I notice this number is different than the number of casualties from your earlier estimate – in that the previous estimate was 350% greater. Anyway though, this also does not say who will inflict the casualties, which goes to your next point. However, when was the last time you heard of a war with 0 casualties? They will be minimized, but they cannot be eliminated.
- Q: What percentage of these will be children?
Relevance: Some, but again, it very much depends on who is causing the casualties, which your little figures don’t go into – mostly because, as we all know, one of the things people fear is that Saddam will starve/gas/run over/otherwise kill his own civilians.
I stayed at work extra late just because this annoyed me so much – you need to apply some basic logic skills to your positions. There are principled positions that are internally consistent that are anti-war – I don’t agree with them, but they are at least logical and relevant. This is mostly just stupid.